Taft HS gets extra funds due to increase in enrollment





by BRIAN NADIG

Taft High School has received an additional $363,000 in funding this fall due to its enrollment increase, while negotiations on a new athletic field for the school are progressing.

It was reported at the Oct. 10 meeting of the Taft Local School Council that the school’s enrollment is 3,372 students, 70 higher than the school system had projected.

School budgets are adjusted based on enrollment as of the 20th day of the school year, and high schools receive about $5,100 for every additional student over the projected figure. This year the Chicago Public Schools announced that schools would not lose funds due to enrollment shortfalls.

Taft assistant principal Eric Flores said that the some teachers have taken on an extra class due to the enrollment increase and that those classes were in place when the school year started.

"Teachers working a sixth class get an additional salary for that," Flores said. "We anticipated this, and this is how we’re going to pay for it."

Flores said that the school hired a new Spanish teacher to accommodate demands for advanced-level foreign language classes. He said that foreign language instruction is an important part of Taft’s wall-to-wall international baccalaureate curriculum, which encourages critical thinking and a world perspective.

Taft plans to reach out to international baccalaureate schools in areas impacted by a national disaster to see how Taft can help those schools and its students, Flores said. The Taft High School Natural Disaster Response Committee was formed to lead this initiative, he said.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the school has been in talks with the CPS’ Law Department and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) about the installation of new multi-purpose athletic fields at the southeast corner of the Taft campus. An Irish football league has offered to pay for a portion of the outdoor facility if it can hold league games there on Sundays.

In recent weeks Taft administrators have described negotiations on the project as moving in a positive direction.

It also was reported that class sizes range from about 24 to 35 students at Taft, and that the school has a new "Mac Lab" with 35 computers.

Also, the Taft Alumni Association has identified 33 alumni who were killed in World War II and 15 in the Vietnam War. Their names will be placed on a veterans memorial that is planned for the school, and the association asks that those with information on alumni who were killed in a war to contact association president Anne Lunde at alunde writer@gmail.com.

The cost of the memorial is estimated at $41,000, including $20,000 which has been paid to the memorial’s designer, according to the association.

The LSC will hold its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.